Heritage

Cyprus Rock Memorial for the National Memorial Arboretum

UK Memorial to the British Servicemen

who died in Cyprus 1955 to 1959

 

By Margaret Sheard……

During the Cyprus Emergency 371 British Servicemen lost their lives during the period April 1955 – April 1959.  There was little done in honouring those who died in Cyprus in the service Old British Cemeteryof their country until 2009 when a memorial was unveiled at the Old British Cemetery in Kyrenia,

David Littlemore served in Cyprus in 1956/58 and was one of the many lucky ones and he was extremely unhappy to note when visiting the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, UK, that there was no memorial to the British Servicemen who had lost their lives in the Cyprus Emergency, and so he made a decision to put this right and, following a lot of work on his part, the National Memorial Arboretum have agreed that a memorial can be placed there along with the many other memorials to the fallen in so many different conflicts.

Here are some extracts from the information provided by David in his quest to honour those brave men who came to Cyprus as young servicemen but did not return home.

“I attended the unveiling of the “Cyprus Memorial” here in Kyrenia in 2009, and was proud to honour the memory of the 371 colleagues lost in the late fifties.

When visiting the British National Memorial Arboretum in the UK I discovered that the Cyprus Emergency is the only “Active Service” posting in which British lives were lost and have no dedicated memorial to them at the Memorial Arboretum.

Memorial Rock

I am very pleased to let you know that I now have approval to have a dedicated memorial to our colleagues placed in the National Memorial Arboretum. I am donating an engraved plaque in the shape of Cyprus, which will be mounted on a piece of Cyprus rock placed on a plinth.

Although I am donating the engraved plaque, I still have to raise the funding to have the plinth made and erected, and for the cost of the memorial’s future maintenance.

For those wishing to support the project will you please contact me by email at; david.littlemore1@btinternet.com.  

Donations can be made to the GoFundMe account which has been set up for the purpose of raising funds and future maintenance of the Memorial Rock by clicking here

After discovering that the 371 British troops who lost their lives in the CYPRUS EMERGENCY of 1955- 59 were the only ones killed on Active Service without a dedicated memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in the UK.  I decided to put that right, while there were still some of us around who had served with them. It was then that I realized how sensitive the Cyprus Emergency still is to the British Government.

In 2009 I had attended the unveiling at Kyrenia of the first and only Memorial to the 371 whose lives were lost in The Emergency and we visited the Wayne’s Keep Military Cemetery with other veterans and the families of those whose lives had been lost.

Wayne's Keep large 1

Because the Military Cemetery is in the Green Line and not open to the public, for some loved ones this was their first visit, and many tears were shed.  In 1956 to 1957 I served in the C in C’s protection team, living in tents in the grounds of his home, Wayne’s Keep House next to the cemetery, and the bugle and shots fired were heard on most days.

Cyprus Emergency casualties were the last to be buried in “some foreign field”. After that time, with exception of some killed in the Falklands, all the bodies of those killed have been flown back to the UK for burial. So I thought it appropriate to honour the memory of those left behind in Cyprus by asking the RAF to fly the Cyprus Rock, on which we plan to place the Memorial Plaque, “home” to the UK.  Inside the “piece of Cyprus” will be placed a ‘copper’ (again I think ‘fitting’) Time Capsule containing all the names and details of their deaths on the Scroll of Honour. The RAF have been wonderfully helpful to this old Red Cap and I would like to say a big ”thank you” to them. I understand my CYPRUS ROCK is due to land in the UK in January 2016, just 60 years after I landed in Cyprus for my first time. I now go back every year to my holiday home and enjoy the sun, and most of my memories; but will never forget those who stayed there.

David Littlemore  (23276823) 

We have been advised that the Cyprus Rock, which has travelled by sea courtesy of the RAF, has now arrived in the UK and following the insertion of the Time Capsule and fitting the engraved message on the Cyprus shaped plaque onto the Rock it will then be mounted on a plinth in a suitable location at the National Memorial Arboretum.

As soon as we are aware of the completion of the Memorial Rock and a date for the unveiling, we will publicise this so that veterans and families of the fallen can attend if they so wish.

David has a huge task on his hands as funding is needed for the plinth and associated work and he is trying to raise funds for this together with the future upkeep of the memorial Rock.   If any veterans or associations feel they can help with this please visit his GoFundMe page by clicking here

You can also make contact with David by email on david.littlemore1@btinternet.com .

David Littlemore

We are aware that the Royal British Legion, Kyrenia Branch, are supporting David, who is a member of this Branch, and the Chairman Major Brian Thomas BEM (Ret’d) has made mention of this wonderful project in his message to members in the current  newsletter.

Having visited Wayne’s Keep on a number of occasions, when we have taken groups of ex-servicemen who served in Cyprus, it is always a very emotional experience to see the gravesCross laid of so many young men who lost their lives and on my last visit I was able to place a small cross on the graves of 2 servicemen on behalf of 2 different acquaintances in the UK, which I was so pleased to do for them.   These young men should be honoured and remembered in the UK with a memorial, as they now are in Kyrenia at the Old British Cemetery, so that families who can’t make the long journey to Cyprus, can visit and pay their respects to their loved ones.

It is people like David who make a difference and help to give dignity to those who served their country but died in the process.  I have lived in Cyprus for 12 years and I also give thanks to the young men who made the ultimate sacrifice which has given me a wonderful chosen homeland which, although still divided, is peaceful as well as beautiful.

To read our previous article about the Cyprus Memorial Rock click here

2 replies »

  1. we are very pleased to hear about this memorial to servicemen who lost their lives in cyprus. My schoolfriend robert bunton died in cyprus whilst serving with the Royal Signals regiment He died in 1958 aged 19yrs. When we visit north cyprus we always go to the memorial at Kyrenia and lay a poppy cross near his name.
    Hopefully we will be able to visit the National Memorial Arboretum and see the Cyprus Rock Memorial when it is in place.

    • Hello Betty, nice to hear from you, thank you for your comment. It will be nice to at last have a memorial in the UK and we look forward to visiting the Arboretum later in the year.